Branded vs Unbranded Content Marketing Strategies

Content can be a great way to establish your brand’s identity, generate visibility, and even earn loyalty from your target audience—if you know what content your audience is looking for. If you want your content marketing strategies to be successful, you need to understand the differences between branded and unbranded content… and when to use them.

What is the Difference Between Branded and Unbranded Content?

The difference between the two boils down to whether or not the content is specifically about your brand. 

As the name suggests, branded content is about your brand, which is your company and its values. This content typically feels more promotional in tone. For example, branded content would include promotional videos for an upcoming company event.

By contrast, unbranded content does not focus on your company, but rather about your industry at large. This kind of content could include articles on market trends or speculation about a new product release from another company.

When to Use Branded vs Unbranded Content

Both types of content serve a purpose. To use both effectively, you need to understand when to use them and what they can help your company achieve.

Branded Content

Branded content helps:

  • create your brand image, 
  • can generate brand awareness and visibility, and 
  • may even inspire brand loyalty if your content is of high enough quality.

Here, authenticity is key; according to Stackla’s Consumer Content Report, 86% of people surveyed said that authenticity was important when deciding what brands they support. What counts as authentic? According to that same report, people prefer “real and organic” to “perfect and packaged” content. People surveyed also said they found user-generated content to be more authentic than other varieties.

As such, discovering your audience’s key values and appealing to them in a way that feels real and conversational may be the best way to come across as authentic.

The Dove Real Beauty campaigns are classic examples of branded content marketing that feel authentic. These campaigns revolve around the concepts of self-esteem and tackling beauty bias, and include both empowering brand-generated videos and inspirational user-generated content like testimonials. This combination helps paint Dove as a sincere, authentic brand that cares about its customer base and is in active conversation with them. That perception can generate brand loyalty, and sales numbers reflect that: in the 10 years since Dove launched these campaigns, sales went from $2.5 billion to $4 billion.

That is the purpose of branded content: to generate visibility and loyalty. 

Just remember that it is important not to flood your audience with branded content, as too much of it feels forced and inauthentic, which may turn audiences off your brand. Instead, use branded content at strategic times, and consider incorporating user-generated content into your branded marketing strategies.

Unbranded Content

Unbranded content offers valuable information or even entertainment to readers.

Crafting authoritative content like consumer reports can establish your company as a trustworthy industry resource. This trustworthiness will lead to people choosing your company time after time when they need market insights. Or, if you keep offering entertaining content like funny or heart-warming industry-related videos, users may see your company as fun, approachable, and authentic—all of which may help establish brand loyalty and trustworthiness.

All in all, unbranded content can also generate brand authority and loyalty, albeit in a much more indirect way than branded content does. It’s a great way to connect with your audience without flooding them with branded marketing content, which can help you appear more authentic.

Final Thoughts

The best content marketing strategies understand that authenticity and trustworthiness are key to inspiring brand loyalty. When you craft content, ask yourself:

  • Does the content feel sincere?
  • Is the content helpful or entertaining?
  • Would my audience connect with this content?

Answering these questions can guide how you shape your content marketing strategies, and may just earn your brand some loyal followers in the end.

Kristen Greif

Learn more about Kristen Greif

Recent Posts

Everything You Need To Know About The TikTok Ban Bill

Everything You Need To Know About The TikTok Ban Bill The app that created the Renegade dance and chaotic Duolingo videos is now facing a potential … Read More

ChatGPT: The Recent Rise of AI & What It All Means

Artificial intelligence. The words alone sound almost too sci-fi-ish to take seriously. We tend to eat up the concept as it’s interpreted by Hollywood — Schwarzenegger … Read More

Is Bing AI better than ChatGPT? An image of two boxers overlaid with Bing and ChatGPT's logos illustrates this concept.

Bing AI vs. ChatGPT: Which is Better?

Artificial intelligence technology is here to stay, and it’s a powerful tool in any digital marketer’s belt. ChatGPT is currently the star of the AI show, … Read More

Robot representing AI chatbot ChatGPT works on a laptop. Red filter.

ChatGPT – Why this Artificial Intelligence Software (Probably) Won’t Take Your Job

Skynet isn’t real, but ChatGPT and other AI systems (and the fear surrounding them) are. While ChatGPT and artificial general intelligence can’t churn out Terminators, they … Read More

AI in Digital Marketing – What It Is, How to Use It, Trends & Predictions

With sci-fi movies frequently portraying artificial intelligence (AI) as something uncontrollable and destructive, it’s no wonder that many people have misconceptions about what AI really is … Read More

Ready, Set, Send! 15 Best Email Newsletter Marketing Practices

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a robust email marketing strategy in the digital marketing world. For small businesses and mega corporations alike, email newsletters … Read More

TikTok for Business - a woman excitedly looks at a camera. Pink background. Digital Strike - Targeted Marketing logo in the bottom left-hand corner.

Use TikTok for Business Like a #Pro

Social media marketing is one of the best ways to make sales; according to one study, 80% of consumers made a purchase as a result of … Read More

Understanding User Intent (Without a Psychology Degree)

Life is often one big mystery, but figuring out what customers and search users are really looking for doesn’t have to be mysterious at all. And … Read More

Share of Search: What Is It and How Can Digital Marketers Use It?

As all marketers know, there is no crystal ball, psychic, or voodoo witch doctor that can help us predict the future…but we do have magic on … Read More

Digital Marketing Skills – What Soft Skills You Need (and Why)

Data analytics. Copywriting. Content creation. SEO. These quantifiable analytical skills are all necessary for a strong digital marketing team. But what about the soft skills you … Read More

Does Alexa Spy on You? Here’s How Voice Data Is Used to Target You With Ads

According to a new report: Yes, Alexa is spying on you…and yes, listening to you is the reason you may be getting those uncomfortably specific ads. … Read More

How to Drive Traffic To Your Site

Everybody Asks: How to Drive Traffic To Your Site But nobody asks how your site is doing. (Doing great, thanks for asking!) All jokes aside, online … Read More

Google Core Web Vitals: What They Are & When They’ll Take Effect

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only guarantees in life are death and taxes. Maybe it’s time we add Google updates to that list. If you’re … Read More

lead-generation

How CMOs Can Take Back Their Brand From Lead Generation Sites

Other Websites Stealing Your Leads? If you’re responsible for overseeing the marketing initiatives for a business, especially in the senior living industry, you’ve probably encountered the … Read More

Lead Source Attribution Modeling

Take Back Your Leads & Revenue: How Lead Source Attribution Can Reveal Lost Online Opportunities We’ve had the distinct pleasure of speaking to or working with … Read More

B2B Digital Marketing

Whether you’re happy with your current marketing agency, haven’t worked with one, or anywhere in between, these are the characteristics that separate the exceptional agencies from the rest.

digital strike building

Why you should reconsider cutting marketing costs during coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected hundreds of millions of people across the world. Our daily routines have been disrupted, and businesses of all sizes are … Read More

Top Stories of 2019

The year is quickly coming to a close, and it seems just like yesterday that we were welcoming 2019. The world of digital marketing is constantly … Read More

5 Reasons To Advertise on YouTube

If you aren't advertising on YouTube, you might be missing out.

11 Things Your Website Is Missing (and 6 Things to Get Rid of)

We've come a long way from the early days of the internet. Here's how to make sure your website looks like it was made this year.

Getting the Most Out of Your Mobile App Engagement Campaigns


Make your Facebook app campaigns even better.

YouTube app

3 Types of YouTube Audience Targeting You Should Be Using

Over a billion users come to YouTube every month to watch something that will educate or entertain them. And those users aren’t just millennials or gen … Read More

Online reviews

How to Reply to Not-So-Pleasant Online Reviews

Is there a right or wrong way to respond to bad reviews? Absolutely.

What To Look For When Choosing A Marketing Company In St. Louis

Whether you’re happy with your current marketing agency, haven’t worked with one, or anywhere in between, these are the characteristics that separate the exceptional agencies from the rest.

How Does Digital Marketing Fit Into Your Sales Funnel?

If you're still using the old sales funnel (or didn't even know there's a new one!), let us bring you up to speed.

analytics platform

Has Your Domain Authority Changed? Here’s Why

This algorithm might send unsuspecting marketers into a panic. Find out what's going on.

Why You Don’t Need to Hire a Vertical-Specific Agency

While a vertical-specific agency might seem like the answer to your marketing prayers, you might want to think twice.

Sales Funnel Tools

4 Unique Tools That Help Grow Your Sales Funnel

We're breaking down four tools we use every day.

Landing Page vs. Homepage: What's the Difference?

Landing Page vs Homepage vs Website: What’s the Difference?

Landing page vs homepage vs website: oh my! Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. We’re someplace far more confusing: the internet. And if you … Read More

Why Automated Bidding is Not Always the Answer

Why Automated Bidding Isn’t Always the Answer

Automated bidding is a popular choice because it seems to promise fewer labor hours by letting an algorithm make your bid adjustments. Sounds easy-peasy, right? A … Read More

The No BS Guide to Conversion-Optimized Landing Pages

The No BS Guide to Conversion-Optimized Landing Pages

Landing page optimization is the process of creating a well-designed page for pay-per-click campaign (PPC) visitors by optimizing each element on the page to maximize the … Read More

How to Make Your Black Friday Marketing a Success [Checklist]

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up, so that means money is about to be SPENT. It’s a stressful time for many store owners as … Read More

Digital Marketing Resources to Bookmark Right Now [2021 Update]

Every marketing strategy needs a little boost as time carries on. Nothing can work seamlessly forever, or else your business will remain stagnant. That’s why marketers … Read More

How to Boost Your Website Loading Time

Remember dial-up? Watching a two-minute YouTube video took thirty minutes because it took so freaking long to load. Nowadays, 47% of people expect pages to load … Read More

Using Customer Testimonials to Improve Your Credibility (With Examples)

Whether you’re in eCommerce or industrial manufacturing, establishing credibility is essential to your content marketing  There is a limited amount of brands that don’t need to … Read More

Beginner’s Guide to the Conversion Funnel

You’ve probably heard your marketing team talk about it all the time – The Customer Conversion Funnel. “It’s all about getting customers to go through the conversion funnel.” … Read More

How to Build Your Email List from Scratch

So you’ve decided to send out a newsletter or maybe we recommended you create one. But where do you begin? The key to any successful newsletter … Read More

The New Celebrity Endorsements: How Social Media Influencers Changed the Game

In the streaming mob of content that is consumed daily on the internet – from whatever people see at work to their social feeds – a … Read More

How to Use UTM Parameters

You already know that good marketers LOVE data. No, not that kind of Data (unless you’re a Trekkie and a marketer).  More like data from Google … Read More

Email Marketing Has a Fantastic ROI

HERE’S WHY EMAIL MARKETING ROI IS BETTER THAN ANY OTHER TACTIC

You want your marketing dollars to generate new leads and engage current customers, but you also need that strategy to be cost-effective. Email marketing is the … Read More

7 Easy Steps for a Foolproof Social Media Audit

One of the greatest (and sometimes the most frustrating) aspects of social media is the fact that it is always changing. And we’re not just talking … Read More

Why You Should Have a Blog

Why You Should Have a Blog

Creating unique content on your company’s website has benefits you haven’t considered yet. Do you want people to keep coming to your website? Are you working … Read More

Does PPC Affect Organic Rankings?

A Digital Marketing Misconception: Does PPC Affect SEO?

In the digital marketing world, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths (myth-conceptions, if you will) about how organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click campaigns work together. We’ve heard and seen it all. … Read More

“How is HubSpot different from SEO?”: An honest answer to an actual client question

“Have you heard about inbound marketing?” This is how a recent client call started. Then, to make things worse, they proceeded to ask, “How is HubSpot … Read More

Why you aren’t ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD] … And why that’s okay

You might be wondering: “Why am I not ranking first in Google for [INSERT KEYWORD]?” It’s not a bad question—it shows you value your business’ position … Read More

Digital Strike Targeted Marketing

Reintroducing Digital Strike

You know the old saying, the cobbler’s children have no shoes? Well, for us it’s true. For a long time, we’ve been our own worst client. … Read More